Telephone call on Thursday: Biden and Putin talk about conflict in Ukraine

Phone call on Thursday
Biden and Putin talk about conflict in Ukraine

A solution to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is to be discussed at a summit on January 10th. US President Biden and Russian President Putin want to phone in advance and talk about the tense situation. The EU does not want to be ignored.

Given the ongoing tensions over Ukraine, US President Joe Biden plans to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone tomorrow, Thursday. This was announced by the National Security Council of the White House. It was about the preparation of the consultations at diplomatic level, it said. This probably means a meeting planned for January 10 in Geneva on the Ukraine conflict, which has been worsening for weeks, and the NATO security guarantees demanded by Moscow.

A US government official said Biden wanted to offer Putin a “diplomatic path forward”. “But we are also ready to respond if Russia moves forward with another invasion of Ukraine.” The US government continues to be “deeply concerned” about the massive Russian troop deployment on the border with Ukraine. The Kremlin in Moscow confirmed the call. It was planned for the late evening, said spokesman Dmitri Peskow of the Interfax agency. An exact time was initially not communicated either in Washington or in Moscow.

Biden and Putin spoke at the beginning of December as part of a two-hour video link. As heads of state, the two first met in person in Geneva in June. The White House said the US government is in close contact with European allies and partners to coordinate the response to the growing Russian military presence on the border with Ukraine. The National Security Council continued to explain that Biden had already spoken to colleagues in Europe about this personally. Previously there had been criticism from Brussels that the European Union should be involved in the planned talks in Geneva. “We do not want to and must not be an uninvolved audience, whose heads are being decided,” said EU Foreign Affairs Representative Josep Borrell to “Welt”.

Russia rejects allegations

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken assured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selenskyj in a conversation that Washington had “steadfast support” for the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine, said spokesman Ned Price. They also talked about a peaceful settlement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine and upcoming meetings with Russia.

The US has been accusing Russia of a massive deployment of troops not far from the border with Ukraine for weeks. A Russian invasion of the ex-Soviet republic is feared in the West. Russia rejects this and again accuses Ukraine of having moved more soldiers to the line to the separatist areas. The developments bring back bad memories of 2014. At that time, Russia had annexed the Crimean peninsula and started supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine, which is still ongoing.

Putin agreed to a diplomatic solution last week, but at the same time demanded security guarantees. This included an end to NATO’s eastward expansion, and thus also a renunciation of NATO membership for Ukraine. Russia has submitted drafts for two agreements with the USA and NATO, with which an eastward expansion of the military alliance and the establishment of US military bases in states of the former Soviet sphere of influence are to be prohibited. The far-reaching demands were rejected by several NATO members.

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